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It’s Getting Hot in Herre

According to NASA, 2005 was the hottest year on record.

2005 Chart and Map

These numbers are alarming, and that’s just the tip of the (rapidly melting) iceberg. 2005 wasn’t even an El NiƱo year.

It is no longer correct to say that “most global warming occurred before 1940”. More specifically, there was slow global warming, with large fluctuations, over the century up to 1975 and subsequent rapid warming…

And of course this is related to the killer hurricane season we just had. Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico create stronger hurricanes.

Donald Kennedy, in an editorial for Science, puts it in rather strident terms:

We know with confidence what has made the Gulf and other oceans warmer than they had been before: the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human industrial activity, to which the United States has been a major contributor. That’s a worldwide event, affecting all oceans. When Katrina hit the shore at an upgraded intensity, it encountered a wetland whose abuse had reduced its capacity to buffer the storm, and some defective levees gave way. Not only is the New Orleans damage not an act of God; it shouldn’t even be called a “natural” disaster. These terms are excuses we use to let ourselves off the hook.

[emphasis added]

Published inKatrinaWeather & Seasons


  1. I think the distinction between “man made” and “natural” is a pretty common one. It’s not a strict dichotomy, though. I think of “man made” or “articifial” as a subset of the “natural” and not a separate domain.

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